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The Serpent Bride

By K. V. Johansen
5,144 words · 19-minute reading time

gray snake on tree

Photo by Dominik Vanyi via Unsplash.

From the author: Benedikte, transformed to a snake by her brother and his nurse, walks in the dreams of knights to find the one who can break her curse.


A Little Foreword ...

These forays into the art of the literary fairy tale were originally published by Thistledown Press in 1998 as The Serpent Bride and Other Stories From Medieval Danish Ballads. They were inspired by the ballad collections and translations of Axel Olrik, E.M. Smith-Dampier, and R.C. Alexander Prior, all of which ultimately owe their existence to the work of Svend Grundtvig. They’re quite different from my usual writing for adults: light, romantic, and influenced far more by Eleanor Farjeon than by Tolkien, Glen Cook, and C.J. Cherryh.

When she lost her father, she lost her family. Benedikte had been less than two years old when her mother died bearing the son they called Christian after his father. A most unfitting name. No step-mother ever joined them; there had been just Benedikte, her father, her brother, and her brother's nurse, for ever.

Benedikte and Christian played together when they were small, and when they were older, shared all their secrets. At...

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K. V. Johansen

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